Valparaiso (4-28, 1-12 MVC)
April 11 - at Northern Illinois (17-17, 8-6 MVC) - 2 p.m. DH
April 14 - at Bradley (10-31, 2-12 MVC) - 5 p.m. | April 15 - at Bradley - 2 p.m. | April 16 - at Bradley - noon
Next Up in Valpo Softball: Five games are on the docket this week for the Valpo softball program. The Beacons will step away from Valley play for the final time on Tuesday afternoon as they travel to Northern Illinois for a doubleheader, and return to MVC action this weekend with a road series at Bradley.
Previously: Valpo earned its first Valley win of the campaign in midweek action last week at UIC before dropping three games over the weekend at Murray State.
Looking Ahead: Valpo hosts four games next week, bringing in UIC next Wednesday and welcoming Drake for the weekend series April 21-23.
Following Valpo Softball: Tuesday's doubleheader will have a live video stream through NIU All-Access. Only the Sunday game of the series at Bradley will be broadcast (ESPN+). All games will have live stats available.
Head Coach Meaggan Pettipiece: Meaggan Pettipiece was hired in September 2022 as head coach of the Valpo softball program. Pettipiece brings over a decade of experience as a collegiate head coach, most recently the last three seasons at the Division I level at Akron. Prior to her time at Akron, Pettipiece spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Kent State and was head coach at Northwood for 10 years. Pettipiece, who owns 254 career coaching victories, was an All-American on the diamond and helped California University of Pennsylvania to a D-II national title in 1998 collegiately before playing internationally for Team Canada, including at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Series Notes: Northern Illinois - A series which dates back to 1985, NIU holds the 30-14 advantage in the all-time series with Valpo. The Huskies took the last meeting by a 9-3 final on April 14, 2021.
Bradley - Valpo is 6-11 all-time against the Braves, including a 5-7 mark since joining the Valley. The Braves swept three games in Valpo last season by scores of 4-2, 10-6 and 4-3. Lauren Kehlenbrink hit a home run in all three games of the series.
Scouting the Opposition: Northern Illinois - The Huskies enter Tuesday's twinbill with a 17-17 overall record and are 8-6 in MAC play after taking two of three from Kent State last weekend. Three NIU hitters hit above .300, led by Kelly Walinski, who is hitting .370 and tied for team-high honors with 20 RBIs. In the circle, NIU is led by Danielle Stewart - younger sister of former Valpo standout Sam - who boasts a 7-8 record and a 3.30 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 89 innings.
Bradley - The Braves enter the week at 10-31 overall and 2-12 in Valley play, in search of their first win since March 19. Lauren DeRolf is hitting a team-best .345 and leads BU with 27 runs scored. Grace French has pitched nearly half the innings for the Braves and has a 4.60 ERA.
Sticking to the Schedule: It took nearly a month into Valley play for Valpo to play a weekend series as originally scheduled, with one game apiece Friday, Saturday and Sunday last weekend at Murray State. Each of the first three weekends of action were split between Friday and Sunday, with Valpo's last game on Saturday prior to last weekend coming way back on March 11.
Big Early Hits: Senior Lauren Kehlenbrink came up with a pair of big early hits last week. On Tuesday at UIC, Kehlenbrink connected on a 2-run homer in the first inning which stood as Valpo's lone runs of the game in a 2-1 win. The homer was the second of the season for Kehlenbrink and the ninth of her career. Then, in the series opener at Murray State on Friday, Kehlenbrink delivered a first-inning RBI triple - the first triple of her career. She is now just two RBIs shy of 50 for her career.
Seib Goes the Distance: Senior pitcher Easton Seib needed no more run support following Kehlenbrink's two-run homer Tuesday at UIC, limiting the Flames to just a sole run and scattering six hits while walking none in earning the complete-game win. The 18th complete game of her career, it was the fourth time in the last two years she had gone the distance while not walking a single batter.
Strong Week: Seib's performance against UIC started off a strong week for the senior. She appeared in all three games of the Murray State series, starting once, in addition to her victory at UIC. She posted a 2.44 ERA over 14.1 innings of work spanning those four appearances, walking just two batters on the week.
Reaching Base: Junior Alexis Johnson reached base a team-high five times last week in 12 plate appearances. She opened the week by going 2-for-4 in the victory at UIC, the sixth multi-hit game of her career. On the flip side, she ended the week by reaching base twice Sunday at Murray State after being moved to the leadoff spot in the order, picking up a base hit and being hit by a pitch. Johnson leads the team in batting average and slugging percentage in MVC-only play this season.